The Best Oil-Controlling Makeup Products, According to Celebrity Makeup Artists

by Michelle Rostamian

A model bathed in blue light
Photograph by Karim Sadli
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One of the most unfortunate circumstances when it comes to makeup application is taking the time to perfect your base—only to have it slip, slide, and melt away due to oily skin. Sound familiar? If you’re #TeamOilySkin, you’re likely accustomed to the pitfalls of what this means for your makeup. Aside from enhancing the appearance of your pores, oily skin can make your complexion appear shiny (and not in a good way). Plus, excess oil can cause certain colors and formulas to oxidize on the skin, says makeup artist Mai Quynh, whose celebrity clientele includes Ali Wong and Paris Jackson. For makeup artists—especially those who work the red carpet—this sounds like the ultimate nightmare. And while there are several products on the market that are formulated to stop grease in its tracks, many of them can cause the skin to appear chalky and cakey. To find out which oil-controlling products reign supreme on all fronts, we turned to red carpet makeup artists (who have warm lights and high-definition cameras working against them) to guide us. Below, find out the best makeup products to combat oiliness and keep shine at bay.

If oily eyelids are a concern and eye primers just aren’t cutting it, try Violette_Fr’s Yeux Paints. These eye paints come recommended by Quynh, and pack a one-two punch of both color and longevity. “I love how these eye paints wear—they don’t budge once they dry, plus they stay on for hours,” she says. Available in both “matte” and “twinkling” textures (both of which will complement oily skin), there are several bold shades in the collection as well as more subtle neutrals. And because they’re so high in pigment, you’ll reap intense color payoff no matter how you plan on wearing them (whether as an all-over lid color or eyeliner).

Blotting sheets like Tatcha’s are handy for taking with you on the go; unlike a powder, they don’t require a brush (or even a mirror) to apply. “I give these to all of my celebrity clients for red carpet events when I can’t be with them for touch-ups, and they instantly eliminate shine,” says celebrity makeup artist Tobi Henney, who has painted the faces of Megan Fox and Barbara Palvin. The papers are made out of gold flakes and abaca leaf, both of which are revered for their smooth feel and absorbent properties. Throw a pack in your purse when you know you’ll be outside or for special events and kiss the grease goodbye.

According to celebrity makeup artist Ash K Holm (you’ve seen her looks on Kim Kardashian, Shay Mitchell, and Jennifer Lopez, just to name a few), an oil-free makeup primer like this one from Make Up For Ever (which Holm recommends) is key to controlling excess oil production and creating a smooth, even base. Powered by ginseng and mineral clay, it promises matte skin for up to 20 hours, perfect for those post-work outings and long-winded events. Holm notes how comfortable the wear is, and that it absorbs oil and controls shine, which “prevents your foundation from oxidizing.”

We’re all for makeup artist-founded products, including this setting powder from Charlotte Tilbury, of which Henney is a fan. “I love this powder to set the makeup and take away any shine on the skin,” she tells W. “It will also make your skin look flawless in photos.” The pigments are superfine, making it really hard to end up looking cakey, even if your skin is combination. Not to mention, the medley of rose wax and almond oil ensures your skin stays hydrated and fresh even though it’s mattified. Snag a shade closest to your skin tone if you plan on using it as a setting powder, or, to use as a defining bronzer, choose a shade or two darker.

Oily skin, meet your new favorite setting powder, as recommended by both Quynh and Holm. “This powder is my go-to when I need to set the face and get rid of shine,” says Quynh. “The formula helps minimize pores and the chia seed extract leaves the skin ultra matte and smooth without any shimmer or reflective shine.” Holm is also a fan, citing its invisible color (which makes the product suitable for all skin tones) and the fact that it gives zero flashback (perfect if you know you’ll be snapping photos) as its main selling points.

“A setting spray can help keep your makeup in place and control oil production throughout the day,” Holm says, praising this setting spray for its ability to keep normal to oily skin types looking matte even after hours of wear. Bonus: it also comes in a mini size, making it the perfect touch-up spray to throw in your travel makeup bag or evening purse.

Celebrity makeup artist Courtney Hart, who has worked with the likes of Hilary Duff and Kristen Bell, suggests this blurring blush from Danessa Myricks for oily skin types. “This formula contains ingredients that work to absorb excess oil and create a matte finish, helping to prevent shine throughout the day,” she says. “It has a unique, balm-like texture that allows for easy application and blending—it also looks beautiful on the lips.” This blush is available in six shades, including a golden peach and juicy pink.

A makeup artist favorite, Hart says this loose setting powder has rightfully earned its VIP status in the industry, highlighting its weightless feel and impressive shine-mixing capabilities. “This is a finely milled powder that’s perfect for touching up throughout the day without leaving a cakey or powdery finish,” she says. “It’s great for all skin types, but it’s especially beneficial for those with oily or combination skin. To use, dip a fluffy powder brush or puff into the powder and tap off the excess before lightly dusting it over your face.” Another plus: this won’t cause a flashback in photos, and the new formulation is talc-free.